Bo and the Beast
|artwork by anthony van wyk|
I. The Beast of Waterfall. Shelter from the Storm. The Old Man and the Hut. Of Monsters and Memories.
Outside, in a town called Waterfall, the wind howled and beat against a guardhouse door. Inside, the room was filled with off-duty soldiers drinking, gambling, and carousing with the local Oiran. A sergeant peered at his cards while listening to the din coming from outside but ignored it the moment he won another hand. His pile of coins grew rapidly; he had won six games in a row and was hoping to make it seven before turning in for the night.
He was feeling lucky; he’d just drawn ‘Iron Samurai’, undeniably the strongest hand in the game and virtually impossible to beat. He slid all his coins through a puddle of sake to take their place proudly in the middle of the table. He was off in his head somewhere, merrily spending the fortune he was about to win; the noise outside merely a distraction. Until it came again, this time louder, more violent; the stout oaken door bulged in the middle, as if something were trying frantically to get inside the fetid room. The sergeant dropped his cards on the table and drew his sword. The others followed suit.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” whispered a soldier when the fearsome banging stopped and the room grew quiet.
“I don’t know. Sounds like... I’m not sure what it sounds like,” slurred the sergeant, wishing he hadn't finished that last bottle of rice wine. Some of the ladies tittered nervously in the corner.
“Silence!” he barked, holding up his hand. The men watched, and waited. The tension grew when the infernal hammering began again.
“I’m going to see what it is,” said a soldier with his back to the door. Before he could even turn, the door exploded in a hail of splinters; masonry cracked and fell to the floor as the intruder forced its way inside...that’s when the screaming started. The beast stood taller than any man; its massive horned head surveyed the room, relishing what was to come. Its nostrils flared at the repugnant stench of man; then it attacked. Afterwards, body parts and coins lay scattered on the floor amid pools of glistening blood. It seemed the sergeant’s luck had run out after all, ‘Iron Samurai’ or not. And so it began...
*an excerpt for a project I am working on for GCT Studios and their wonderful game called 'Bushido.'*